With a simmering storm over comments he made about Hillary Clinton after the New Hampshire primary, Chris Matthews made an extensive statement about the whole matter on “Hardball” today.
“Some people whom I respect, politically concerned people like you who watch this show so faithfully every night, people like me who care about this country, think I’ve been disrespectful to Hillary Clinton, not as a candidate, but as a woman. They point to something I said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe the morning after the New Hampshire primary, that her election to the U.S. Senate, and all that’s come since, was a result of her toughness, but also the sympathy for her because her husband embarrassed her by the conduct that led to his impeachment, because he, in the words I used, “messed around.”
“Was it fair to imply that Hillary’s whole career depended on being a victim of an unfaithful husband? No. And that’s what it sounded like I was saying and it hurt people I’d like to think normally like what I say, in fact, normally like me. As I said, I rely on my heart to guide me in the heated, fast-paced talk we have here on Hardball — a heart that bears only goodwill toward people trying to make it out there, especially those who haven’t before.
“If my heart has not always controlled my words, on those occasions when I have not taken the time to say things right, or have simply said the inappropriate thing, I’ll try to be clearer, smarter, more obviously in support of the right of women — of all people — the full equality and respect for their ambitions. So, I get it.”
The National Women’s Political Caucus was to hold a rally outside of MSNBC’s Washington studios today.
David Brock of progressive advocacy group Media Matters for America called Matthews’ comments “a step in the right direction.”
“Matthews said going forward he will try to be more supportive of the right of women to full equality and respect for their ambitions. That is a pledge MSNBC has a responsibility to hold him to in the weeks and months ahead. Media Matters certainly would.”